Dems, Trump Pull $2T Surprise on Infrastructure
(May 8, 2019)
- President Trump and Democrats are in a crunch as they try to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package amid rising concerns in some quarters about the deficit and national debt.
While many support the concept of an infrastructure push, members of Congress and outside groups are worried about how to pay for such a massive haul with national debt topping $22 trillion.
“It’s $200 billion a year, so that’s not an easy pay-for. I don’t know how you’d do it without raising taxes,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), who chairs the House Budget Committee.
Trump and congressional Democrats have both frequently named infrastructure as one of their priorities and view the issue as an opportunity for bipartisan legislation in a divided government. Democratic leaders said they and Trump agreed to pursue a $2 trillion bill. Lawmakers and the White House are expected to meet again in the coming weeks to discuss funding options. But finding the money is a problem, and Democrats have left it to Trump to suggest a plan for their next meeting.
“We know we can spend the money. People will be delighted to spend the money on roads and bridges and inland waterways and ports and rural broadband, no problem. But the part of the discussion that's lacking is, how are you going to pay for it?" said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an appropriator.
The government will be forced to borrow money for any part of the plan it can’t offset with new revenues or other cuts, and that could spell trouble for the debt.